Habits, Systems, Incentives, and Orange Chicken

Habits take effort to form. Scott Adams (the Dilbert creator and author, https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays) suggests building systems over setting goals, advice with I both agree and recommend. For a variety of reasons my good habits have shifted to less-than-good. My systems no longer work for what I want to achieve. Developing a system for success is easier if there are positive reinforcements and rewards.

To write and exercise more are two of my personal objectives. I have no excuses preventing either. I can make the time. At the moment, I struggle on the incentives and rewards. For example, for some people getting followers or ‘likes’ on social media is an endorphin producing reward, reinforcing the desire to post stuff. Sure, that feels great. That is not my driver and is a fickle system. It is a status game of sorts. I am looking for rewards independent from the views and responses of others.

For many years I practiced and sometimes taught martial arts. I very much enjoy it. It is a social-bonding experience, personal, self-rewarding as skill improve with time and practice. Injuries, loss, work, and covid broke all my systems keeping me in practice. Going to the gym to push heavy things is not enough by itself.

How do I change this? One incentive is listening to pod-casts and audio books while working out. This helps while there. The challenge is finding a driver to get me out the door in the first place. I need the positive incentive because my current one is maintaining my health for pain-avoidance. While pain will motivate me to go work out, it is just not an enjoyable reason. I want to want to, not have to.

Writing is my other area to address. A web-journal is part of the answer. It is a place to write. I own it, it is not driven by ‘likes’ or followers. It exists in parallel with my desire to build and maintain skill sets. Writing entries requires me to manage the site, which expands my knowledge and expertise in web hosting and content management. Two things rewarding each other.

The real challenge is what to write about. Do you care what I ate for lunch? Today is orange chicken and vegetables. From a box. In my freezer. Yeah, no. Not my thing to brag about.

By way of example on mutual reinforcement, my site’s WordPress theme and plugins updated, adjustments are needed for readability and general maintenance. Woot! Something to write about, maybe.

I have some work to do. I will revisit this again as things evolve.